A Divorce When You Have a Child - Pros and Cons

Updated on November 24, 2008
J.C. asks from Norristown, PA
41 answers

I just wrote about 10000 words on this request, but then I decided to delete it all. I have so much to write and explain, and I knew it would be just too much and I know I would miss out something that is relevant...
So here is my question to you...please tell me the pros and cons of getting a divorce when you have a child that we both love dearly which we are concerned about the most when we get divorced, but my husband and I can't take each other anymore.
I really want my daughter to have both parents(not like my husband who went through his teenage parents going through 6 divorces and none of them being in his life) and don't want to give up on our 9 year relationship after all we've gone through especially with our most beautiful and wonderful 2 year old daughter that we are so blessed with.
We thought about marriage counseling but that cost too much money and we can't afford it right now at all(even with our insurance) and I was not able to find any that we might be able to get for free or low cost.
There is so much to this question and issues that I'm having, but it won't be right for me to explain it all on this request. I feel like I know what kid of different replies I will get back, but still want to talk to more people and be more "educated" about this serious issue.
As always, thank you all for your time and advices.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.W.

answers from Harrisburg on

Have you thought about seeing a pastor? They can make great listeners and can offer some great advice!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

If you really want counseling I suggest looking into a liscensed social worker. they usually work on a sliding scale. My dh and I went and it cost us $30 a session. We were over it and back together before we spent $100 that was how great she was for us.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi
What area do you live in? I possible could find a counselor for you for free. (It would be a minister so if you don't want that then I couldn't find one for free) Please don't use money as a reason not to get counseling. If you are both willing to work things out. That looks like a great sign.

Also I have this great movie that you could have. I will mail it to you.

This may seem real lame but think about why you feel in love with him. Think about what you could do to make the relationship better and then work on that. Love is patient and kind...

Fall in love all over again.

Try Simply romantic Secrets. It is a workbook you do together then you have envelopes with non expensive dates that are a mystery until you open them.

Go to www.familylife.com
by Dennis Rainey

Hope this helps

[email protected]____.com

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.N.

answers from Philadelphia on

I am going through this right now. I can offer you these resources:

Family Services - montgomery county counseling (individual and maritial) $45 is a low cost, no insurance option.

The Alpha Center - Doylestown. They do divorce mediation and cost between $2,500 and $4,000 for divorce by attorneys -- no court appearances. They are supposed to have the best interests of the child in mind.
The Alpha Center provides you with the attorney to do the legal paperwork, counselors, and financial planners. This system takes you from beginning to end.

Email me or send a personal message, we can talk about it in more detail.... like I said, I'm going through this right now and I have a 2yo. son.

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.H.

answers from Harrisburg on

I only just read your post, so you may have already made up your mind. I divorced after 20 years of marriage. I have 3 children, then 14, 9, and 1. I could write a book on all the reason NOT to divorce!! My children have suffered many problems because of my decision. I can't blame all of their problems on our divorce, but I'll never really know. I am not saying your situation may be bad, or am I insensative to a bad marriage. I am only asking, please do what ever you can to put it back together. There are many things that you can do, even if you are the only one trying. You will never be sorry that you tried, but I can promise, that you will be sorry that you didn't give it every chance possible.

I have many suggestions, but like you, it would take too much space to put it all here. If you would like to hear them, or my story, you may e-mail me at [email protected]____.com

I will not judge you for any decisions you may make, I would just like you to fully understand what concequences there are to your decisions...I feel for you, good luck, D.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.A.

answers from Philadelphia on

You sound ambilivant about the divorce. I know counseling is expensive, however many social workers are willing to offer sliding scale counseling (try Penn Counsel for Relationships - they have several offices and I know they offer sliding scale also you can call the National Association of Socail Workers to be refered to someone who can help in your area). You can talk to someone about marriage counseling, seperation and divorce and co-parenting. Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hey J.,
Sorry you are going through this.
First, let me say that I think most couples go through times when they have ups AND downs. That's just normal. Are you sure this isn't just a low time in your relationship?
Second, I think that you need to look for options for low cost/no cost counseling. Check with your church, local churches, call the United Way info line, community outreaches, etc. I really think you owe it to your child to try to improve your marriage (sounds like you're game for that too).
I don't believe that a divorce means the end of the world but it will be a HUGE change for all involved--especially your daughter. I just think that you both need to make sure you have tried ALL you can to repair this relationship before you choose divorce. Even if you have to pay for counseling--isn't it worth it to be sure of the decision you make in the end? Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

If you still have love for each other, try everything you can to make your marriage work. You want to be able to look back and say you tried everything before giving up. You don't want to have regrets down the road and your daughter deserves it.

You have access to the internet and there are endless websites with marital advice. There are also tons of books out there, I know Dr. Phil has one that you can read together and do the exercises, sort of like counseling.....

What have you got to lose, right?

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

You can talk to a priest/rabbi/whoever and they do not charge you. I think if you are willing to go to counseling (both of you) then you should still give it a try. My husband and i had our first child as teenagers and i was married by 19. I can tell you that we probably hit more rocky parts that most anyone. But...we really loved each other and now it is amazing. If this is just a rough patch, know that it happens and you can work through almost anything. If one of you has fallen out of love ...that is another story. I do wish you the best of luck. I hate to see divorce though :(

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

Well without knowing the REAL reasons for the breakup of the marriage it is kinda hard to give you the right advice or opinion! But i was with my husband for 10 when we called it quits. I asked for counseling and he didn't want to go so that was it! For the most part we get along, there are times he gets on my nerves but he did that when we were together. It really didn't effect my kids my my situation is different. Although we were married he was never home so my kids were always with me, i did the homework, baths, bedtime etc..etc... So my kids are used to him not really being involved. I honestly feel as though your daughter is too young to understand what is going on. So if you absolutely can not work it out than split now not later. Your daughter will just grow to adapt to how things are(and will not know any different) to accept things the way they are. Don't wait until she is old enough to understand. I am sure she will ask where daddy is when he is no longer there (all the time) but that passes with time. If you ABSOLUTELY can not afford counseling and you's BOTH WANT to go than try calling your local social services, churches, legal aid etc..etc.. to see if maybe you can find or be referred to a place that will do it for low income families. But if you are just done than end it while yous are civil to one another. Well if you want to exchange war stories email me. good luck and keep your head up some people just grow into different directions and are no longer meant for the one they thought!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

I am not divorced but have often thought of it. I think you really need to look inside yourself for the answers. You really do know what is right and you will eventually do it. Once you make the move everything will fall into it's place.

DB

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.A.

answers from Johnstown on

Before you give up on counseling, consider a minister in your community, or someone who does social services through a church. You dont even have to be a member. We found a minister in our community who counseled us for a year. Ironically, he had a background in addiction, so he was able to work well with my husband who drank and had sexual addictions. He told us that unless my husband stopped drinking, and got into an AA program, there wouldnt be any hope in saving the marriage. Sadly, he went to AA but continued the behaviors. BUT, we did get very good counseling and I was helped tremendously.

Another avenue we took was to call the college in our town, IUP, they had counseling services to offer via their graduate department, for a very low fee where we had sessions with a student ready to graduate, under the guidance of the prof. Although my husband refused to go there, I took myself and my daughters there.

My husband and I did divorce 7 years ago, but I will tell you, that he is a better father now than he ever was when we were married. AND, they no longer live in the turmoil and conflict that was our marriage. They see him at his best and they live in an environment full of love. I do think they are happier to have two happy parents APART, instead of two UNHAPPY parents together. I wish you the best. The worst is over, I think, for the two of you. Making the decision and deciding to work together for the interest of your child is the hardest part. I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels when you have lived alone and know you can emotionally and financially make it.....that you are healthier mentally and can give so much more to your child. Take care. GA

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.B.

answers from Allentown on

Yes, counseling can be expensive but so is divorce. If you are not 100% sure put the money into the counseling first. You can't put a price on saving a marriage!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.V.

answers from Philadelphia on

I would strongly recommend marriage counseling first. I recommend the Foundation for Family Guidance Christain Counseling Center in Cherry Hill, NJ. They offer rates based on your income. You can call for an appt at ###-###-####. Their website is http://thefoundationforfamilyguidance.com/

I will pray for you and your family.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

F.V.

answers from Lancaster on

J.,
If you both love each other and really want to make it work not only for your daughter but for the both of you there is no price tag for counseling. Even if you are not 'religious' there are churches that will help you. I had a friend that was in your situation so I asked another friend who had a great church and her pastor said that he and his wife at NO CHARGE would be happy to meet with my other friends on a weekly basis. So, there are ways out there just open up to some friends and ask around. A healthy loving relationship is good for your daughter but if the relationship is damaged or violent or just plain over then get out before she sees the lack of love and children can tell. They are so very smart.
Good luck
C

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.N.

answers from Philadelphia on

I'm not sure if you have tried this, but oftentimes priests, rabbis and pastors at different churches and faith communities will offer counseling, especially marriage counseling for free or very cheap. If you both want to try to work it out, that may be a good place to start and oftentimes it is for a small (like $10- $30) donation. Best of luck. I'm sure this is not easy.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.B.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi! My husband and I are kinda in the same situation. Counseling even with insurance is too much. We had just started going to our church and didn't feel comfortable talking to anyone there. We did see a movie called Fireproof. Not going to win any awards, but the content is what helped. There is a book "40 day love dare" that was used in the movie, you can get it at any Christian book store. As, for my husband and I, the movie opened our eyes quite a bit, and we are attending a marriage conference at the end of November. The only advice I have is that the best thing you can give your daughter is a happy, loving relationship between her parents.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

i would think counseling would be much cheaper than divorce..divorce much bigger cost in many ways find a counsler who will make a payment plan family is worth at least a try

1 mom found this helpful

B.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

If you don't want to give up on your relationship then why don't you just try seperating for a time? Somtimes stepping back and taking a break can give you a better perspective and an opportunity to solve the problem. IT is better for your child to have two parents that love her happy in seperate homes than for them to be together and miserable. But divorce should be the last step, not the first one "because we can't afford" to get help. Have you tried talking to your church leader? Have you looked into any programs that you can afford within the mental health community? Hang in there and keep looking for help, it's out there you just have to find it! Best wishes

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.P.

answers from Philadelphia on

Dear J. C,
I think as a woman going through the same issues, I can give you some of my feelings. I have considered divorce so many times and have stayed with my husband for my children. We have 3 aged 10, 8, and 5. All I can tell you is that the longer you stay, the longer it is to leave. I wish I would have left the first time I felt it was the thing to do. I know you understand because there are so many issues, feelings, thoughts, etc. I can tell you that I do feel that it is better for you to be happy because in the long run that is what is best for your child. There have been so many times that I have been angry at my husband and my children have been hurt by that. I certainly try to be the best for my children, but I feel they deserve better and I, too am contemplating how I am going to tell my husband I am done and ready for a divorce. We have been married for 14 years this November.

If you are not happy with your spouse, it is not healthy to be with them for you or your child that is the bottom line. I wish you the best as I know it will not be easy but you will all be the better for it.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.L.

answers from Philadelphia on

I haven't gone through this, but I know that many pastors meet with couples for marriage counseling. I'm not sure if they charge, but if they do, it's can't be too much. Please look into it - your little girl needs her parents. I feel like you have to try! I would be glad to recommend my pastor if you are in the Maryland/Delaware/PA tristate area. I hope that you can work things out.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.C.

answers from Lancaster on

You said that counseling is not an option at this point, however, I would highly suggest it even if the end result is still separation. You will want to resolve your issues with your husband so that you can have an amicable relationship with him--enough to be able to communicate about your daughter. In addition you'll want to identify the unhealthy patterns so that you can avoid them in future relationships. As humans we tend to fall into patterns. You do not want to get out of one unhealthy relationship and jump into another.

Give counseling a chance. (I would suggest a local church as a resource) It will benefit whether you stay together or not. I've been through this with my Ex. We have remained friends and he is active in my son's life, and mine too.

Good luck and if you need to talk about this, feel free to contact me. I know it is difficult.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.W.

answers from Philadelphia on

My husband and I also went through a ton of really, really rough times when we had one young daughter (now we have 3!). I agree with many of the other posts that counseling is really worth it if you're going to make this work for you and your child. We went to The Peacemaker Center in Downingtown and highly, highly recommend it. I know they now have an office in West Chester. They do offer scholarships/financial aid and I'm fairly certain that if you need to be seen for counseling (and it sounds like you do)they will work with you regardless of your ability to pay. And even if it doesn't work out (which I pray is not the case) they will help you through whatever comes next. My personal recommendation is Karen Uhler but I know they have many many wonderful counselors. Feel free to email me if you'd like!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi J.,

If you and your husband aren't getting along and there is no hope for reconciliation, then it is probably better for your daughter not to live in that environment - but that doesn't sound like the case for you. It sounds like you want to try to save your marriage. I would ask your HR person at work for free or inexpensive counseling options. I would also recommend asking at your church. Many churches offer marriage counseling and you might be able to trade volunteer work as payment. It is worth looking into. I would always recommend trying to save the marriage before giving up on it. Good luck!

J.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I do not have any experience with divorce, but I was wondering if you belong to a church? Perhaps they have some counseling that would be affordable or even free?
Just a thought. My prayers are with you and I hope you can find the best solution for your family.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

I am not a religious person, however I know that many churches have groups or one-on-one counseling that would be free. My parents church (Episcopal) welcomes any outsider regardless of faith or if they attend. Sadly, that is in TX. It might be worth checking into some churches up here, though.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.H.

answers from Pittsburgh on

The toll you pay for divorce is way more costly than the money. Divorce is hell!!! It drains you of all of your resources, emotional as well as physical. You get caught up in a destructive vortex that sucks the life and joy out of you all! You lose hope in future relationships, you spend years licking your own wounds and have little left for anyone else (your child or a new relationship). You doubt your own ability to choose a new partner. All of your investment in this venture failed, like a bad stock investment, only worse!
Find a pastor or rabbi to talk to. As long a the relationship is not openly abusive, (just somewhat cool and restrained) it is better to stay together until the child is older. Children are very demanding, and self absorbed. They don't even notice that you are not getting your needs met. She probably won't care that you and her father are not in a wonderful relationship as long as you don't scream at each other and scare her.
I am really sad for you. I finally divorced the father of my children after 20 years. The youngest of them was eight when the hell started. His life has just now settled into something normal and calm, and he is 15. All eight of them suffered terribly. Mostly over loyalty issues. In order for them to be acceptable to their father, they have to bash me. I don't know what an "amicable divorce" looks like. Is there such a thing? Maybe if you and your husband both want out then it wouldn't be quite as bad.
Good luck,
N

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.K.

answers from Erie on

I read through some posts, and saw a lot of people say that staying together and being miserable isn't good for the kids.

I'm sure there are situations where that is the case. I can only speak from my experience. My parents divorced when i was 13. My mother has depression issues and my father was unfaithful, but i'm sure there is more to it than just those facts, It stems from much more that i'm probably not aware of.

If there is such a thing as an amicable divorce, that was what they had. They never put my sister and i in the middle, never faught in front of us. and at the time, as a kid, you just deal with it and take each day.

Looking back as an adult, i'm devastated. The people i trused most in the world took away all stability and all sense of family, and wrecked my life.

My sister is a mess, no relationships at all. If i hadn't have met such a fabulous man to show me what a family can be, i don't know where i would be right now. It is still a struggle to function normally. Especially at the holidays. People probably wouldn't think i had been so damaged, because i put on such a front, but that's all it is.

And looking at what my mother had to go through as a single parent, its insane to choose that. (I'm working under the assumption that you do have a choice and aren't being abused.)
And you can't even cut the man out of your life, HE's still there every day, you still have to make decisions about your child together, still have to see him and deal with him.

SO all i'm saying is, try every thing you can, AND if you should get divorced, at some point your child may need counseling anyways. And i would highly recommend it for yourself too. Divorce is going to rip your world apart, everything you take for granted now will be gone. maybe it's for the best. you have to decide if it is in your case.

you are so brave to ask for this advice. I hope someone writes something that helps you. You deserve a good life, and you goes your baby. Dt Laura Slessinger (sp) from the talk radio and books is much more elequant about this than i am, if you have the chance to read some of her stuff it's good.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.P.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi J.,
I am so sorry you are going through this. I know it is the hardest thing you'll ever have to do. I am also going through this right now. My husband has left but we are trying everything we possibly can because 14 years together is A LOT to just throw away. I know it is emotionally draining and exhausting but just try to think about whether or not your issues are just the normal nuisances that many marriages face now and then. Decide from there. I always say that marriage is work and well worth the fight...IF you both want to be there and are willing to fight the fight.
There will always be work but what is better that being part of a team in this life? Knowing that someone will be there for you when you need them most? it's worth it to me. I haven't got any advice about counseling because I am lucky enough to get it free through my works employee assistance program. Maybe you have this as well? Check it out. But hold your head up and try to be strong. This takes strength and I hope and I'll pray that you have that strenght and that your marriage, partnership remain intact. Good luck and feel free to e-mail or message me if you want to talk. Be well, A.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.W.

answers from Erie on

Hi J.,
Life sounds pretty tough right now. I'm sorry. Divorce is one of the toughest things I've ever gone thru in my life, and I had 2 kids at the time, ages 1 and 3.

Re: marriage counseling -- did you think to call some protestant churches in their area, and see if the pastor would be willing to counsel you ? Some ministers do, and some don't. And most who do, don't expect to get paid. Their counseling will be faith-based, but that doesn't mean they would push you to stay together at all costs. It depends on the person. You could call, talk to the pastor, get some info, and then decide. Think up some Q's in advance, and ask them -- then make an app't with the one you with whom you feel most comfortable.

It's really hard to toss 9 years of your lives away. There were some incredibly good times as well as the hard ones. You also end up tossing out your ideals some, and my 1st marriage and divorce definately made me more cynical than I was before that. But the hardest thing I found was to become "myself" again. When you are married, you see the world through the lens that says, "I'm married. I'm half a team." All of the relationships you build start with that as a foundation. Suddenly the foundation crumbles, and ALL of your relationships change. You become more vulnerable, and it takes a while to put your life back together, and feel emotionally safe as a single person. But it is do-able, and you can become a healthy and wiser single person, if that's the course you guys set.

Most of the reasons couples fight are over money and or chlldren. If money is the issue, try getting one of Dave Ramsey's budgeting books, and work through it together. It will help you to set goals and achieve them, and if you follow the plan, you'll be working together to accomplish the same goals, which can revolutionize your marriage. (I know it sounds wierd, but if money is the #1 problem, start there, and try to solve it. don't complain or blame each other, just try to solve the problem.)

You have a 2 year old, and I agree, it's best if you have a solid and stable marriage within which to raise a child. But if you have a marriage that has crumbled, staying together for your child is the least healthy alternative for her. Children of divorce are healthy kids, too. There are challenges to get them there, but those challenges begin with Mom and Dad becoming healthy unmarried individuals. If you work to get yourself healthy, and help your child cope with the upheaval and changes, and try not to argue and fight with your ex, but to be calm and understanding, and continue to both care about and nurture your child, she'll grow up healthy whether she lives in a married family or in a single parent home.

If money is the big issue, however, know that living in two homes instead of one, is going to increase the money problems. There are just more expenses to having two separate households. I'm not saying, "Stay together for the money," -- I'm just saying that divorce doesn't make the problems go away. It is emotionally easier to live alone than to live in a marriage that is no longer a marriage, believe me. But if money is the #1 issue, it will continue to be so, because it's going to get harder before it gets easier.

the other thing to look at, is where and who are your support systems? Do you have people in your lives, whom you REALLY REALLY trust, who can provide some face to face counsel, and if you end up divorcing, will walk through you as friends through this ?

I was married only 5 years before my divorce was final. I was a single mom for 5 years, and am now married again, for 19 years. One of the things I did even before my ex and I split up was to make a list of the qualities I would require in a man to ever get married again. Very often people get divorced and then go out and marry the same kind of person again, and get divorced again. I didn't want that kind of life. I got divorced because I wanted something better, more stable, and closer to my ideals. What I found was my very best friend. I met him a year after my ex and I split, and after we were legally divorced, and we started dating a full year AFTER having met. I knew him for 4 years before we were married, and even then, "marriage" petrified me. i didn't consider it a "safe" place, and it took me 6 months to trust him as a husband the way I had trusted him as my friend. and you know what ? We go through our "times". He is much more consistent than I am, so I doubt he has the ups and downs I have, and I don't tell him when I feel very unemotional about our relationship. I just let it go, because I simply cannot imagine living anywhere else, or with anyone else. This relationship is safe, he's my lover, my best friend, my partner, and I wouldn't do anything that would jeapardize that relationship. Because even during those times when we seem emotionally distant (or, more honestly, when I am emotionally remote or totally unresponsive, I know those are emotions, and I based my commitment to him on much more than that.) I know emotions come and go, and if I hang in with myself, they'll be back. I also know, that even if our relationship became one that is well worn and comfortable but not as intimate as it was when we were younger, he's still my best friend. And I am his. And it's that respect and friendship we built 23 years ago that keeps our marriage strong. That and kindness. (and loyalty, and . . . . etc)

Think about why you married your husband in the first place. Think about what you'd like marriage to be. Don't throw it away if what you can't take about him is merely a stage, or due to stress that won't last. Take an interest in his daily life -- his job, his hobbies, and listen to him when he talks. Ask questions, to make sure you understand what he's saying. See if there isn't still something there worth hanging on to. . . But if there isn't, don't hang on just for your daughter. If you aren't clinging to each other for yourselves, clinging for your daughter's sake is going to be 16 - 20 years of hell for both of you AND your daughter.

And, again, I'm sorry you have to face this, although facing it requires us to be totally honest with ourselves, about what we did wrong (not what our spouses did wrong), and if you deal with "you" in this process, you'll end up a better you.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.S.

answers from Allentown on

If you guys are up to the idea of counseling but just can't afford it, there is still time to work on the marriage.
#1- Do you know how much it can cost to get a divorce? Mine cost just me $10,000.
#2- I'm not sure if you guys are religious at all, but a minister or pastor could help for free. Even if you are slightly religious, it could help.
#3- I know that there is some sort of Luthern Diakon Ministries thing that does free or low cost counseling. It is a sliding scale, so it's based on what you can really afford. You meet with "real" counselors, just like an insurance plan. It's definitely worth looking into. I was just thinking about that today for myself.
If divorce is what both of your hearts are really set on, then all this is pointless. But I would atleast give it a real try, it could be worth it years from now.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi,

I am sorry you and your husband are going through this. I did not read your other replies so I am not sure if I am repeating information, but it is really important to get counseling. I know you are saying that you do not have the money for this, but do you have the money for a divorce? Think about it this way, if your child was ill and needed medication or a doctor and your insurance did not cover it I suspect that you would do whatever it took to get help for your child. You need to think of your marriage in the same terms. Whatever decision you end up making, counseling will help resolve the issues. There are training programs at large universities with counseling programs that might be able to provide care at a reduced rate. You can also call your local church and see if they have pastoral counseling or investigate providers with sliding scales. Most co-pays for mental health services run about $20 to $30 with a good insurance plan. Skipping a few meals out a week and making coffee at home will go a long way in making those payments. Ultimately it is your (and your husband's) decision, but if you are truly conflicted about ending this relationship then getting help needs to be a priority. Your daughter will benefit from the steps you and your husband take to resolve your concerns, whether it results in you staying together or not. Children tend to feel best when their parents also take care of themselves. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

That is a hard dilemma however, as a legal secretary in a firm practicing family law I can tell you that we always encourage people to attempt to work out the differences if it means keeping a family together however, if that is not possible it is the most unhealthy thing for a child to live through. The child's best interest must be put first and truly if you are having a difficult time, it may be best to separate and show your child that it is okay to love both parents the same and not feel guilty. Often the child does better in school and is happier because they get to spend equal time with the parents without feeling the tension or hearing the disagreements. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.T.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't have much input on the pros and cons of divorce. But I thought I would suggest that if you belong to a church consult the pastor. He may not be a licensed therapist, but he may be able to help you. Most often these services are free or offered at a minimal cost. I would hate to see anyone end their marriage because they thought they couldn't afford to get help. Also if there are extenuating circumstances affecting your marriage such as unemployment or caring for a sick parent or child look into appropriate support groups. Being with others who can understand your circumstances may help. Other may also be able to direct you on how to find low cost assistance. Best wishes to you.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

Not knowing the issues involved, it is hard to give you advice. But I will tell you that it is absolutely necessary that you and your husband find someone to talk to about this before deciding this very important issue. Divorce will be tramatic for your child no matter how friendly you two are. It is a permanent situation and the ending of a family. You don't say if you are a religious person, but please go to a local church where you can usually get free couseling. How about the Burlington County Ministries in Burlington Center? Or maybe there is one closer to whereever you live. I wish you the best in making this very difficult decision.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.C.

answers from Allentown on

Hi!!
My husband and I went to Marrage Encounter..it is free and a great experience!! You HAVE to try, please do not give in so easily..it may be easier for you husband b/c that is how he grew up...he does not know any better. You have to break the cycle, for your daughter's sake. You can look up the website, I think there is a class in Easton this November, any and all Religions. Good Luck!
K.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.F.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree, divorce is much more expensive (mentally and financially!) than counseling. Think about having to maintain 2 households, pay 2 sets of taxes, 2 sets of utiilities, etc. You can check with local churches, etc.

Another option would be to call RESOLVE, which is a partnership between UPMC and Western Psych. Their number is 1888-7RESOLVE, which answers 24 hours a day, they will come to you if they need to, and it is FREE. Here is the description from the website:

Whether you are overwhelmed by grief, feeling depressed, bullied, or stressed out by day-to-day life, re:solve Crisis Network is here to help. Our services are confidential and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You will speak with a trained counselor who can help you while you are talking on the phone. Or, if you prefer to speak face-to-face, our counselors will make the trip, wherever you are in Allegheny County.

re:solve Crisis Network is here to help residents of Allegheny County regardless of age, ability to pay, or whether or not you have previously used behavioral health or other supportive services. Our goal is to help you feel more comfortable in your situation. “Step one” to feeling relief starts with picking up the phone and making the call: any day, any time, for any reason.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.Y.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Just above your posted request was Pittsburgh Seminary - Samaritan Counseling Service. Could this be a sign??
Anyway, as a product of multiple divorces, I would say stick with it as long as you can. As separate parents, you can make it easy on your child, but there are so many more challenges ahead, that its worth your best efforts. And if you think affording counseling is tough, just wait til you get to pay separate living expenses. I know it sucks, I'm in the same spot now, but I will stick it out as long as I can, atleast until they're all of age.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.L.

answers from Allentown on

This happened to mne and the childen were so torn and upset. You can repair the relationship by going to church counselors or Catholic Social Services. I was in a couples group when I found out that my husband was fooling around and he finally left. He was dead n 3 months from drinking with new girlfriend every nite and dinner. You can try to find affordable groups for the two of you to attend through Christian Counseling. This child will be hurt forever and will take her into relationships that will not be any different than yours. Remember what attracted you to each other and try to bring back some of the pazzaz into your lfe. Divorce at the very last resort if you are being injured...or abused. Try again and then again..get to couples counseling. Joanie, Good Luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hello J.,

I have been through a divorce after 21 years of marriage, and I have to say that the other responses are correct on the cons of divorce. Your child will be permanently changed, and the divorce will effect her entire life.

The process of going through the divorce was more painful than any thing I have ever experienced, and I hope to never experience that kind of gut-wrenching pain again in my life. I can't think of many experiences that could be worse. Even in the case of a death, the person doesn't choose to leave you as in a divorce, so the pain is different.

And no one who hasn't actually experienced the journey through divorce can ever understand the range of emotions and pain you experience. Before my divorce, I imagined a much rosier scenario of being on my own than what it is in reality. In reality, being a single mom is just plain HARD! It is hard every single day and all of the time. Money, time, responsibilities, and decision-making are all up to you.

But since there is so much advice to the negative about divorce, let me tell you some of the pros.

There is peace in my home. While my ex-husband and I were married, there was constant bickering, misunderstanding, shouting, and anxiety. And not just between myself and my ex-husband. He was a hard, negative, demanding person and he made me and my children feel unloved and unworthy. After counseling, we all have our self-worth back.

If I had still been married, I would have never started my business. I always had a love for decorating and design, but never realized that I had the skills, tenacity, and verve to be a business owner. After my divorce, chiefly through necessity, I fulfilled my dream of becoming an interior designer and owning my own business. I am supporting my family through my own efforts, and that makes me feel very powerful and confident. I have learned so much about myself and what makes me who I am, and I would have never even begun this journey had it not been through the strength and ability I gained through the divorce.

I have a love in my life that I have never had. I am now engaged to be married to the most wonderful man I have ever known! I have found someone who can truly love me for the person I am. I never dreamed I could love someone like I love my Stephen, and I would have never met him if I had remained married! I will never go back to allowing someone to treat me like I am not good enough or worthy of their love or attention again.

So, after the pain and because of the pain, there is hope and life. I am not the same woman who was married for 21 years; I am better and a truer form of me. I am who I was always meant to be, and the pain of the divorce was the chief reason. It is like a tool that gets placed in the blacksmith's fire, heated up and pounded, but then comes out sharp, strong, and ready for service. The heating and the pounding are excruciating, but the end result is a life formed in the way that you want it to be.

Do I recommend divorce to anyone? No, not unless you are being abused or if he is unfaithful. The pain is just too intense to be worth it for any other reason except unreconcilable and unforgivable acts. However, if you choose to divorce, you can and you will survive, and even flourish in the end.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.F.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Okay, this is going to be long.

First, I want to say that I don't think you are quite ready for the divorce yet and wanted to help you look for some options. You talked about not getting counseling because of the cost. Have you checked with the pastor/preacher/etc. at the church you attend (assuming you attend a church). A lot of times, they will help you work through the problems together. Also, check with these couple of places which offer reduced rates in some cases or sliding scale fees (please note they are in the Pittsburgh area... but if you aren't, they may be able to refer you to one in your area) Caring Professional Resources ###-###-####, Catholic Charities Counseling Center ###-###-####, Duquesne University Psych. Clinic ###-###-####; Family Services of Western Pa ###-###-####, Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute ###-###-####; University of Pittsburgh Clinical Psychology Center ###-###-####; YWCA Counseling for Women by Women (this one may not do couples but it may be worth checking) ###-###-####. Please note that the names and numbers are from a list I have that are a few years old. If they don't seem up to date you can call the WARMLINE and ask them for help getting a more up to date list. That number is 14-800-641-4546 (outside Allegheny County) and ###-###-#### (inside Allegheny County). You can also check with the United Way Office to see if they have information for your area (if you are not in this area). That number is 1-800-411-8929. When you will call you will need to type in your zip code to be connected to your local office.

ALL THAT HAVING BEEN SAID... In my humble opinion, you are not doing your child(ren) any favors by staying in a marriage that does not work. If you have tried to work it out and it is not working, your child can feel that tension and can probably hear you arguing. It is hard to make a happy home for a child when both parents are unhappy. If you really are unhappy together and feel that you can't make it work, then get out while you can still be civilized to each so that you can work better as a team to raise your daughter together possibly even as friends.

I know some people say to stay together for the kids sake... However, my aunt did that for years. When she finally decided she had to get out, for her sake and for her girls (it had become an abusive situation), it was too late. Her husband killed her. I don't share this easily. She was only 5 years older than me and one of my best friends. However, I think of it as a learning situation. Don't wait for it to get really bad. Try to work through it with counseling or just by getting a sitter and going to dinner (even if it is McDonalds or a picnic dinner) and talking it through. See if you can get back to where you were when the two of you were happy. But recognize once you have truly tried for several months if it is helping or not. If it is not helping, then try something else or make the decision to get out but stay a family through communicating and working together to raise your daughter.

Divorce doesn't have to be a horribly bad thing and at her age, she will be very resilient. It won't be as hard as it was for your husband who had to deal with it in his teenage years.

Honestly, I know this isn't much of a list of pros and cons but you have to sit down and figure that list out personally. I don't know your finances or how much you love your husband. I can't tell you what the good things would be if you stayed together because I don't know your personal relationship. One thing that could help you (and maybe him, too, if you did it together) is making a few lists and possibly sharing them with each other. Do your own pro/con list, make a list of all the reasons that you loved him in the first place and wanted to marry him, make a list of what really bugs you now and what you feel he needs to change. That last two lists are ones that I would ask him to do and sit down and share together. You might find that one of your biggest problems has come about because of one of your biggest blessings. Relationships change with kids and sometimes this is harder on the husband than we think. You may find that some of those things that have changed are things you are willing to commit to making work again. My husband and I don't get nearly as much time together (without children... we have three). That has been one of the problems we have found with our relationship and we work together to make time for each other. But those little things that change add up. They add up to less time together and a lack of communication and sometimes resentment. These things can be worked through (oftentimes without counseling) through opening the lines of communication and finding what works for both of you.

I wish you the best of luck and hope this long message helps. I know I've written a lot more than you probably want to read but I hope it helps. Good luck.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches